Tag Archives: care

Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

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Covid-related deaths in care homes rise 46% in a week – after Tories promised to protect residents

Visiting time: guidance for visiting relatives in care homes, published a few months ago, suggesting putting them behind glass, in order to conform with social distancing rules.

What happened?

The Tories were humiliated over care home deaths, way back in the spring of last year, after 30,000 people were said to have died because of government idiocy.

The Tories had ruled that Covid-19 patients from care homes should not stay in hospital but should be returned to their places of residence – most of which didn’t have any protective facilities so they were sent to infect their friends and neighbours.

And the Tories failed to order that staff who usually move between homes should stop, so their employers didn’t either. That meant staff were catching the disease in one home and then transmitting it to others as they did their rounds.

Now we’re being told the rise is due to the virus having mutated into a more virulent form – but it has to be carried in by someone. I wonder who.

Deaths in care homes in England have hit the highest level since mid-May, according to the latest official figures, which revealed a 46% jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the last week as the more transmissible variant of Covid-19 breaches care homes’ defences.

In the week to last Friday, 1,260 deaths in care homes involving Covid-19 were reported to the Care Quality Commission, a sharp jump from 824 and 661 in the previous two weeks. The weekly death toll in care homes had fallen to well below 100 in early October.

Staff say guidelines have been followed to the letter, which suggests to me that they need to be revised; they don’t work.

No wonder insurers have stopped providing coverage for those homes that have offered to look after discharged Covid patients – to prevent the possibility of infection at other locations.

Source: Covid-related deaths in care homes in England jump by 46% | World news | The Guardian

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Care home residents told they can’t have vaccine unless they get on a bus

Frail residents of care homes across the UK are being told they can’t have the new Covid-19 vaccine unless they get on a bus to the hospitals where the jabs are being administered.

Apparently storage conditions mean they can’t have the injections in their care homes – but their physical condition means they can’t take the trip to hospital either.

Isn’t this going to cause yet another Covid care home scandal?

Covid vaccine plans for frail care home residents were in chaos tonight after they were told: Get on the bus.

The Government says they will have to travel to hospital hubs for the jab but angry care bosses said: “There’s no way they can do that.”

Care homes fear vaccines won’t be delivered to them until next year despite Government promises they would be a priority.

The vaccine must be transported at minus 70C, and can only be kept outside ultra-cold storage for a few days.

This means 50 hospital hubs in England will receive the first batch before GPs start delivering the vaccine in the community from December 14.

The complex logistical issues mean there are fears some of the most vulnerable in care homes will miss out if they can’t be safely taken to hospital.

Yet again, the Tories fail to think out their stratagy properly.

Yet again, it seems the most vulnerable will pay the price for bull-in-a-china-shop Boris Johnson’s stupidity.

Source: Covid vaccine plans for care home in chaos after frail residents told to ‘get on bus’ – Mirror Online

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Gavin Williamson scrapped dozens of protections for children – unlawfully

Williamson the dunce: I know it’s a duff image but it reflects this MP’s abilities so I’ll keep using it as long as he continues to be a dunce.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stripped children in care of 65 legal protections illegally, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges said he should have consulted the Children’s Commissioner and other stakeholder organisations before inflicting such a “substantial and wide-ranging” “bonfire of children’s rights”.

The regulations affected included legal timescales for social-worker visits to children in care, six-monthly reviews of children’s welfare, independent scrutiny of children’s homes and senior officer oversight of adoption decision-making for babies and children.

The protections affected also cover disabled children having short breaks and children in care sent many miles away from home.

It seems Williamson did conduct a consultation but was selective about whose opinions he sought – adoption agencies, private providers and local government bodies.

But organisations representing the children and young people who were to be affected by the changes were not consulted and the Children’s Commissioner only found out about the changes after they had been forced through Parliament through the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) regulations in April.

We are told that all of the changes were temporary and have now expired.

We have yet to hear – may never hear – how many children were harmed as a result of them.

Williamson has been told to run proper consultations in future.

But will he? And doesn’t this simply reignite the debate over whether Conservatives should be allowed anywhere near children in care.

Source: Education secretary ‘unlawfully scrapped children’s rights’ – BBC News

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New lockdown guidance for care home visits is likened to ‘prison systems’

Worse than a prison visit: new guidance for visiting relatives in care homes could put them behind glass, in order to conform with social distancing rules.

What was This Writer saying yesterday about the current UK government’s similarity to the fascist state in V for Vendetta – providing “security but not freedom”?

Here’s proof of it:

New guidance for visits to care homes demands the following:

  • Residents should each be limited to only a “single constant visitor” or an absolute maximum of two, with appropriate PPE used at all times.
  • Care homes should designate “visiting pods” – rooms directly accessible from outdoors, so that visits can take place at windows. It seems the idea is to have the visitors outside the building and the residents within. A bit chilly in the winter!
  • Worse still, the guidance says visits should happen in the open air – outdoors – whenever possible, possibly under an awning, gazebo, open-sided marquee. It recognises that this will not be appropriate for many residents and visitors in the winter.
  • Social distancing rules must be followed at all times.
  • Spaces designated for visits may be used by only one visiting family member and one resident at any time.
  • All visits must be booked in advance.

In the event of an outbreak at a residence, all visits must be stopped until infection is brought under control – except in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life visits.

The guidelines have been condemned by charities and care home providers.

Erica Lockhart, the CEO of Surrey Care Association, said

The guidance, which outlines measures likened to prison visitation systems, suggests floor to ceiling screens, and whilst I can understand the government’s suggestion they haven’t fully understood the impact this will have on residents and loved ones.

Kate Lee, the chief executive officer at Alzheimer’s Society, expanded on this:

Some of the suggested options… have the potential to cause distress to people with dementia, particularly those in the later stages.

During the four months of the first lockdown, we saw an unexpected rise in dementia deaths in care homes that were not coronavirus related – we believe these 5,000 additional deaths could be as a result of disruptions to a threadbare social care system, and prolonged social isolation, causing dementia symptoms to rapidly deteriorate.

Source: Coronavirus: New lockdown care home visit guidance in England likened to ‘prison systems’ | The Independent

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Why is this Liverpool hospital being penalised for a political decision by NHS England?

Overwhelmed: across the northwest more than 2,660 patients are in hospital with Covid-19, including more than 200 patients on a ventilator.

You might think it is fair for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to take possibly punitive action against the Liverpool University Hospitals Trust.

Trust medical director Tristan Cope had, in fairness, warned that the hospital had been overwhelmed by coronavirus and standards of care could no longer be maintained.

But would it be fair if, as he also claims, NHS England has been blocking the hospital from enacting plans that would redeem the situation – in the name of politics?

Here’s The Independent:

In the WhatsApp message to doctors, shared with The Independent by multiple sources, Dr Cope, a consultant in anaesthesia and critical care, said: “LUH is now essentially overwhelmed by the demand. We cannot maintain patient flow and usual standards of care. We have put forward a proposal to further reduce elective [planned] activity, but maintaining capacity for the most urgent cases that would suffer from a two-four week delay.

“It is a very sound plan that our divisional teams have worked up. However, NHS England are prevaricating and delaying with the usual request for more detail, more data, etc. It is clear to me that the politics is outweighing the patient safety issues of the acute crisis.

“There has been no meaningful support from the acute cell or NHS England. In fact, they are blocking us from acting in a rational way that would help us to manage the acute pressures.”

He added: “I am utterly demoralised by the catastrophic leadership failure at a national and regional level. I feel I have done everything I can in terms of escalation and lobbying for some courageous and meaningful action, but apparently to no avail, at least so far. Not sure what else I can do.”

Liverpool has been hit hard by the escalation of Covid-19 in recent weeks, as more and more people have succumbed to the virus as a result of Tory government policies that have allowed it to spread.

The Independent article’s comment from an NHS England spokesperson avoids the substantive issue already – merely commenting that the service is treating more people now than at the height of the first wave.

The statement also says more “clinical support” has been brought in from elsewhere in the region, but this must be balanced with the fact that it has demanded asymptomatic staff testing.

And who is going to be providing the facilities to test every single person in Liverpool, as often as necessary, as the government has claimed?

It seems clear that – yet again – the Tory “make do and mend” approach to medicine is heading for disaster. Perhaps Boris Johnson would treat the matter seriously – if only he were affected by it personally.

Source: NHS bosses accused of ‘putting politics before patient safety’ as leading hospital struggles to cope with second wave | The Independent

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Arrogant Dorries rejects cross-party talks to help mental health of NHS & care staff – EIGHT TIMES

Nadine Dorries: Wrong again.

The health minister who is so stupid she said the November lockdown in England could only have been predicted with a crystal ball has struck again.

There’s a reason we call Nadine Dorries “Mad Nad”.

Over the weekend, the woman widely considered to be the stupidist Tory MP – against stiff competition! – admitted that she did not understand the information being received and used by her own department of government; SAGE had demanded a lockdown in September.

Now she has demonstrated that she does not understand that her government’s failure to get to grips with the Covid crisis in any meaningful way over a period of nearly a year is having a devastating effect on the mental health of people working in the NHS and in the care sector.

Labour MP Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan does – and appealed to Dorries no fewer than eight times to join with her in devising a mental health package that has cross-party support. Dorries rejected it in a manner that belittled not only herself but her entire miserable government:

Condemnation has rained down on Dorries from all sides:

It won’t have any effect, though.

I say that not because the Johnson government has a huge Parliamentary majority – granted to it by a population that was desperate to resolve the Brexit crisis that the Tories had created and gulled by rabidly right-wing mass media into thinking the Tories were the only party that could provide a solution (which is lunacy, if you think about it for just one moment).

The reason condemnation won’t work on Tories like Dorries can be summed up in a simple, well-known saying:

No sense, no feeling.

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#LevellingUp or #ToryCorruption ? Serco-employed test and trace managers take £1.5m per year

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he refers to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people will blame the nationalised health service that has nothing to do with it.

The Serco Test and Trace scandal gets worse and worse; it has just been revealed that some employees receive £7,360 per day to pretend to find people with Covid-19 and trace their contacts.

That’s the equivalent of £1.5 million a year. These are people from companies with strong connections to the Conservative government, that won their contracts via an emergency system which avoids the normal tendering process.

And it has already been established that most contact tracing personnel spend their time playing computer games because they are not being given work to do.

City AM says,

Sky, citing leaked documents, reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has paid BCG around £10m. That was for a team of 40 consultants to work for four months on test and trace.

BCG’s “day rates” for public sector work – which determine the cost of its service – range from £2,400 to £7,360 for its most senior employees.

The report said BCG is giving the government a 10 to 15 per cent discount. Although this would still equate to day rates equivalent to around £1.5m a year.

BCG declined to comment.

Sky also said that 165 more consultants had been hired to work on test and trace. They include 84 from Deloitte, 31 from EY and 50 from KPMG.

So much for Boris Johnson’s claim that he was “levelling up” the UK. Tory friends are being paid millions in public money while those who desperately need it are being starved.

While ministerial salaries are being frozen, all MPs are getting a pay rise of £3,300 per year – equivalent to around two-thirds of the current annual rate of Universal Credit for an adult aged over 25.

The lowest MP salary will be £85,291 per year. Compare that with nurses on £24,000. Who does the more important job?

What about care workers, who receive an excruciatingly-low £18,553 per year. Who does the more important job?

The Durham-based family of Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings have been excused from paying £30,000 in backdated council tax on houses they built without planning permission 18 years ago – while child poverty in the Durham North constituency has rocketed by nine per cent – to total one-third of all children living there – in the last four years… after housing costs were taken into account,

The social media are seething with discontent:

I think the following three tweets put the current situation in a nutshell, using the current northern lockdown as an example of Tory corruption at its worst. First, let’s set the scene:

Now we can go into details with this excellent speech by Labour MP Dan Carden:

Lastly, let’s remember that there was an alternative – but people were steered away from it by liars in the mainstream media who shilled for the corrupt Tories instead. Now what, do you think, encouraged them to do that?

Source: Government paying test and trace consultants equivalent of £1.5m salary : CityAM

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Coffey’s not your mate! Watch her dodge duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants

Therese Coffey: she’ll dodge any implication that she has a duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants – remember, she couldn’t care less about a human being who starved to death because of the decisions of her Tory colleagues.

This is very revealing.

Questioned on whether the Tory government has a duty of care towards vulnerable benefit claimants – think “people with disabilities”, “people with mental health issues”, “people with long-term illnesses” – Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey could only say that no such duty has been written into the statute books.

She avoided giving an opinion on whether she had a moral duty to look after the interests of people claiming state benefits:

Well she would, wouldn’t she?

Since 2010, the Conservatives have presided over – no, they’ve precipitated – the deaths of uncounted numbers of people: with disabilities, with long-term illnesses, with mental health problems, in care homes, in their old age, and I’m sure I’m missing a few categories.

They have deliberately avoided any effort to count the dead, saying once people have been pushed off benefits, the government has no responsibility for them.

But that isn’t true.

There’s a question of whether the government is right to deny benefits to people, or to make them so low that people starve, or fall into despair, and die.

That’s where the moral question is useful.

Is there a likelihood that a person’s health will suffer as a result of benefit denial?

If so, shouldn’t the government monitor their progress?

If not – how does the government know, and shouldn’t it monitor them anyway, to make sure they have other means of support – both financial and mental?

That’s the question Ms Abrahams was asking.

Ms Coffey’s response tells you everything you need to know about her, and the Tory government she represents.

They say they aren’t killing anybody, but it’s only because they aren’t actually stabbing or shooting people. The effect is the same.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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